Friday 2 November 2018 1:53 pm

Cuadrilla hails natural gas flow from Lancashire fracking operation

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Natural gas has started to flow from Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Lancashire, the company confirmed this afternoon.

Gas has begun to reach the surface of the Preston New Road site, after Cuadrilla used hydraulic fracturing to free a small section of shale rock inside an exploration well.

“Tthis is a good early indication of the gas potential that we have long talked about,” said chief executive Francis Egan.

While the gas volume is small, Cuadrilla has been restricted by several “micro-seismic” tremors at the site, where fracking has been stopped since 2011 after being linked to two earthquakes.

The most recent tremor occurred on Monday, leading the firm to pause operations for 18 hours, and marking the fifth such event in six days.

However, Cuadrilla said it plans to “fully test” flow from its first two exploration wells towards the end of this year and into early 2019.

“This Preston New Road site is being monitored to an unprecedented level,” Egan said.

“This initial gas flow is by no means the end of the story. However it provides early encouragement that the Bowland Shale can provide a significant source of natural gas to heat Lancashire and UK homes and offices and reduce our ever growing reliance on expensive foreign imports.

“This week, three huge tankers carrying liquefied natural gas from across the world, including shale gas imported from the US, will dock in the UK to safeguard our winter gas supplies. If we are able to fully test these wells, without compromising on safety, we have the potential to make a major difference to UK energy supply, security and economic prosperity.”